Accountability. Shela Marshall, a resident of Merced, states accountability, pooling ideas, and bringing people together is what the Occupation is all about.
The Occupy movement went global on October 15, 2011. On the same day, the citizens of Merced joined the campaign. Another month has gone by and the movement has not lost support. The protesters involved with the Occupation remain steadfast in their stance.
Merced resident Monica Villa says, “This is how we want it to be. We want it to be non-violent. We don’t want to accost anybody out here and have them feel we’re overrunning their rights, as most protests do.”
Although the numbers of people stationed at Courthouse Park on M and 21st Street have dwindled with the return to everyday responsibilities, the amount of other forms of support has not. The signs bearing phrases related to the cause are posted somewhat permanently in view of the street. Drivers on M Street honk their horns in support.
The Internet has become a dominant source of information on the movement and a place for discussion forums. Villa mentions that the most important aspect of continuing the movement is educating people and increasing awareness. She asks, “Why do we have to find a way to survive when we should be able to live?”
Citizen of Merced and author, Joy Widmark, fears “the motivation of our culture to go to school, get a great education, and get a job is being dissolved... there’s no future because its been sold to a select few.” In addition Widmark says, “We are all spokes in a grand wheel... and if we don’t unite and all stand in the hub we’re going to get caught up in the frenzy of the dollar.”
The New York City General Assembly’s “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” can be found on their website, www.nycga.net. In short, the declaration reminds the Occupations’ supporters why they are protesting and urges them not to lose sight of the original purpose. The declaration describes corruption of the major corporations and the economic power wielded over the government affects the nation’s democratic process and thereby endangers the rights of the American people. The manifesto calls for peaceable assemblies and occupation of space in order to bring concerns of social and economic inequality to light and begin the search for solutions that will be accessible to everyone.
The “Move Your Money” project, though formed separately from the Occupy movement, has been embraced by the Occupation. On Saturday November 5, 2011, the campaign urges all individuals and institutions to divest their money from America’s biggest Wall Street banks and move it into the smaller financial institutions within their communities. The project claims that the move to localized banking will lead to a more stable economic system by removing support of the corrupted financial system which the movement understands to be the cause of the national financial crisis.
For more information about the organization, view the official website, www.moveyourmoneyproject.org.